Beyond the Boardwalk: Landry's Signature Chef's Series

Each Tuesday night throughout the summer Landry's is offering a private, multi-course dining experience hosted by its executive chefs.

The series was launched at Vic and Anthony's, followed next by Pesce. This week, Steven Vanderpool of Brenner's Steakhouse on the Bayou took his turn showcasing his culinary style.

The evening started with a passed appetizer of prosciutto-wrapped yuzu, ginger and butter poached shrimp. Instead of the usual wine pairings, some courses were complemented with cocktails, this one with a Honeydew martini. The martini was sweet and refreshing, and the garnish of candied ginger on the rim hinted at the slight ginger and citrus flavors of the shrimp.

The first course was the perfect way to start a summer meal, a roasted yellow tomato gazpacho. Instead of letting the gazpacho sit for a day, two batches were made, one the day of and the other the day before and blended together. Doing this mellowed the smokiness of the roasted tomato and made for a more brisk flavor. Lump crab meat and avocado strewn through out were a pleasant surprise. A cucumber and basil vodka tonic was the perfect companion to the soup.

Next up was cocoa-dusted boar tenderloin with butter leek baked potatoes and a cherry glaze served with a potent Buffalo Trace Cherry Manhattan. Luxardo Italian maraschino cherries were used in both the glaze and the cocktail.

The main course was what Chef Vanderpool described as Southwestern Steak Frites. The chimichurri-rubbed buffalo ribeye was cooked in bacon fat and served with a side of glorious duck fat frites. The fries were first glazed with duck fat before being high temp fried with more duck fat, and added to the party were bits of thick-cut maple glazed bacon. Yes, it tasted just as good as it sounds.

The dessert was a chocolate lover's dream, a rich, dark chocolate tart topped with caramel ice cream and just a sprinkling of sea salt paired with a port wine.

The setting was intimate and relaxed, allowing good conversation to flow among newly made friends at the tables, and as the evening wound down Chef Vanderpool came out to greet the guests and answer questions about the dishes. These dinners are once again proving Landry's has a lot of talent and can stand up to the culinary giants in Houston. There are five more dinners until the grand finale at Vic & Anthony's on August 9, where all eight chefs will contribute their favorite dish to the line up. Menus and tickets are available online.

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